Mascaro jump-starts SG election

Elections are coming.

Capital Campus | William McNamara | March 3, 2016

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We interrupt your daily Trump frustration to deliver some truly unsettling news. SG Elections are upon us.

Yesterday, Will Mascaro released his platform to run for Student Government President. Three weeks early. As of publishing it has received dozens of shares on social media as word spread across campus.

Mascaro is a second-year student in the School of Public Affairs and former Speaker of the Undergraduate Senate. His time in SG has been most notable for his lack of care for SG tradition. So while this early start may be unprecedented it is by no means unexpected.

The issue some have raised concerns about though, “is it illegal”?

No, it’s not illegal. First off, SG rules aren’t law. Second, it’s not technically even against SG rules really. But he’s probably going to get challenged in the SG elections committee, which is exactly as disgustingly entertaining as it sounds.

“I’m confident that what our campaign is doing is entirely within the bounds of the rules,” Mascaro told The Rival, “But what matters more is this: that every student has the chance to judge me on my ideas before they sign any petition to put me on the ballot.”

So what are his ideas?

The platform itself is the type of thing you would expect from any SG campaign, but there are a few golden eggs that are going to make this a really interesting SG election.

What struck my eye first is what’s sure to be one of the defining issues of the election; Mascaro is calling for a tuition freeze. This marks perhaps the first time an SG establishment candidate has advocated this position.

Traditionally, the call has been owned by progressive activists and groups outside SG, but it seems now even student senators are hopping on the bandwagon. This is in large part due to SG’s recent role as a member of the Education-Not-Debt Coalition, the student-led campaign that called for the tuition freeze earlier this semester.

Many believe the strategy is to apply external pressure to the University Budget Committee, thus empowering the SG Comptroller (who sits on the committee) to broker a more agreeable compromise. This is probably true although many would argue that a real honest-to-god tuition freeze is in fact achievable through a reshuffling of the operating budget. Although the caveat there is that many of the new programs students are requesting may not be prioritized without additional revenue.

Another bold position Mascaro is blazing for is for student worker unionization. SG spent the better part of last year exposing the unfair labor expectations on student workers in Housing and Dining Programs. At the end of a report published by SG President Gilthorpe, she suggested that if the situation does not improve soon, SG will be open to helping to facilitate student worker unionization.

Mascaro’s call here is a reminder to the university that students do have certain trump cards to play. But like the tuition freeze, such an endeavor would require massive mobilization and precise coordination to overcome the financial, professional, and legal hurdles. If student workers don’t all get on board the whole plan falls apart, and many don’t have any interest in unionizing because they actually like their jobs. They’d have to be convinced of the mistreatment of their colleagues, and even then it’d be a challenge.

At some point I got bored reading the platform and just kind of started skimming, but I saw a lot of other interesting stuff in there. He’s calling for a scholarship fund to assist with Greek Dues, a financial aid advocate, and the actual implementation of the university’s plan to improve the experience of minority students on campus. All around a pretty solid platform for the campus left.

“Mascaro is a second-year student in the School of Public Affairs and former Speaker of the Undergraduate Senate. His time in SG has been most notable for his lack of care for SG tradition. So while this early start may be unprecedented it is by no means unexpected.”

But still the most interesting thing is what he’s doing starting this early. When you think about it, it’s a brilliant move. He’s getting the opportunity to make his case first and let the students know that his ideas are coming from nowhere but himself. And Mascaro is absolutely right about the petition thing. It’s weird that all this time we’ve been expected to sign SG petitions without knowing what their ideas are.

So, AU, prepare yourselves, because SG elections are coming early this year. Mascaro is out of the gate running and he clearly already has a well-supported campaign apparatus. Now we hide, and wait for the next candidate to release their ideas.

Or, you can be like 70% of student body and not give even the slightest shit about SG. Happy Thursday everybody!